With a fantastic 2016 behind us here in Toronto, it is time to look forward to 2017. With so much positivity, it is still surprising the questions that surround each team. The options themselves are not what’s alarming, but how diametrically opposed some of the answers are. So over the next few posts let’s take a look and what each Toronto management team is facing, what we expect them to do and how successful will they be.
To start, let’s take a look at the Toronto Blue Jays. This team has been a top 4 team in back-to-back seasons losing in the ALCS series each year. This team had one of the best rotations in all of baseball so could still very well be a contender. The team’s bullpen however wasn’t the greatest (lacking lefties) and their lineup did have a number of holes to fill. The offseason, so far I might add, has been quite confusing as they haven’t made a strong push to fix those holes nor have they thrown in the towel either. Therefore, to President Mark Shapiro and to General Manager Ross Atkins I simply ask…. pick the damn direction of the team and stick to it.
Go For It
Yes, there certainly is plenty to be excited about when looking at this Blue Jay team. You have the young duo of Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman on the mound matched with the experience of JA Happy and Marco Estrada. You have the best game manager behind the plate in Russell Martin and your left side of the infield is absolutely solid with the 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki. All management needed to do was find a few lefty bats to help make this team more versatile and add a couple of arms in the bull pen. It would also be icing in the cake to get younger in the process if possible.
The Jays moves so far this off season have been questionable in that regard. They have yet to bolster up the bullpen and even though they offered Edwin Encarnacion the most money (not their fault) they didn’t wind up signing him. Instead, in less than 3 days they rushed (completely their fault) to sign Kendrus Morales. Why the hurry? Even to this day there are still plenty of DH/First Baseman with power available at a cheap price? Either those series of events were all mistakes (which doesn’t bode well) or they aren’t planning to go all in. Add to the fact that they didn’t want to overspend for Dexter Fowler and I really feel that management doesn’t believe that this is their window of opportunity for a World Series. You know what… that’s fine. With the way other teams are positioned, it might not very well be the right window to make that push. So if you believe that, then…
Start the Rebuild Already
As successful as the Jays have been over the last couple of years, it has become quite apparent they are one of the oldest teams and do have some large holes to fill. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t appear so far that the Jays are doing what it takes to fill them therefore, why are you hanging on to veteran contracts like Tulowitzki, Martin and yes even the Bringer of Rain himself in Donaldson? You will be able to get much more for them now than you will later. Yes there will be a backlash from the fans but if management believes a rebuild provides the best percentage to win, then take a page from the book of the Toronto Maple Leafs (can’t believe I actually typed that) and do your own version of scorched earth and rebuild.
So again, I reiterate to the management of the Toronto Blue Jays… pick a direction. Right now it appears that you are trying to do both as you balance “retooling” this team while still trying to win. Guess what, the only thing that accomplishes is being successful at neither. There are only two teams that have successfully retooled as they won. Trust me though when I say that the Toronto Blue Jays don’t have anything close to resembling the Patriots or the Spurs or their tandems of Bill Belichek – Tom Brady and Greg Popovich – Tim Duncan. Pick a direction Blues Jays, the sooner the better.
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